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AUSTRALIA will have a new automotive manufacturing business next year as fledgling electric vehicle company Savic Motorcycles begins rolling out a line of high-performance motorcycles from its Melbourne facility.

Savic plans pilot production of 10 EV bikes by mid-2022 and then following Australian Design Regulation (ADR) certification, start full production for customers.

Founder and CEO Dennis Savic, who first showed his EV bike at the 2018 Melbourne Moto Expo, told GoAutoNews Premium that he envisages production of 5000 bikes a year.

“We are in the process of manufacturing the first two production representative vehicles, which are production vehicles that have been fully machined up,” he said.

“That will start this month and then production tooling starts in January, then tooling takes a few months before starting the pilot production run of 10 vehicles for customers.

“That will start around June-July and once assembled, we should have ADR compliance and completion of a special Australian-sourced Bosch ABS development, so the bikes should be ready for production by about October.”

Dennis Savic

Savic this month received $657,000 in funding from the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC). The money comes from the government’s $30 million Commercialisation Fund.

Mr Savic said the AMGC investment was “a strong vote of confidence in our product and plans to manufacture EV motorbikes onshore”.

Together with money from Savic and its partners, the EV motorcycle business has a total project value of $1.14 million.

AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said Savic Motorcycles was “paving the way for electric mobility in Australia by leveraging the best of breed designers, engineers and manufacturing partners to deliver motorbikes of unmatched performance for local and global customers”.

“Savic is proof that when you embrace the entire manufacturing process from design to research and development, all the way through to sales, there are exciting times ahead for Australian manufacturing,” he said. 

Mr Savic, a former Ford Australia engineer, said all components will initially come from overseas and the bikes will be assembled in Australia, but sees more manufacturing potential on local soil in the future.

“We don’t have sufficient high volumes to allow component manufacture in Australia just yet, because of the cost involved,” he said.

“That rules out local manufacturing. We don’t have a viable business model with local manufacturing until volumes increase.

“We have our own people in China and India at the moment for support. They will look after quality control prior to shipping.

“Assembling will be based in Melbourne and the plan is to eventually establish a facility to make 5000 units a year of the high-performance C-Series of bikes, which is the first of a planned line of models.”

Mr Savic said future plans involved dealerships and though early days, he is in talks with potential retail partners.

The company is also looking at a “hybrid” retailing model that could have a retail presence including some owned by the factory combined with direct sales.

Mr Savic said staff come from a range of backgrounds, including automotive, with the past five years spent on recruiting local engineers and getting pre-production work done inhouse.

Savic’s plans are to produce the C-Series model of bikes in three variants. These are a 25kW Omega (comparable to a 300cc traditional motorbike), a 40kW Delta, and a 60kW Alpha which is equivalent to a 1000cc.

The company said the Alpha has 200Nm of torque and has acceleration to 100km/h from a standing start in 3.5 seconds. 

The C-Series’ 16kW/h lithium-ion battery can be charged to 80 per cent in less than four hours and has an urban range of between 150km (for the Omega) and 250km (for the Alpha).

The company says that the bikes have world-class, racing-quality components that include Wilbers suspension, Brembo brakes and a customised Optibelt carbon-fibre drive belt. 

Savic Motorcycles has said the retail price will be “extremely competitive compared to other full-size e-motos” with the Omega expected to sell for $12,990, the Delta at $16,990, and the Alpha at $23,990.

It said that these prices were “less than half the price of its competitor, the Harley Davidson LiveWire”.

Savic Motorcycles will also compete with Kawasaki which has announced it will make only EV motorcycles for “developed countries” by 2035, however the Japanese brand is yet to produce such a bike.

In the US, Volcon Powersports has made history as the first US-built off-road electric fat-tyre motorcycle. 

Volcon recently listed on Nasdaq after starting production in Texas. It now has a market capitalisation of $US98 million ($A134 million).

By Neil Dowling